COVID-19 had stormed through the world in early March of 2019, and on 5 May 2023, SARS-CoV-2 was officially declared to no longer be a global health emergency. The rise of new COVID-19 variants XBB.1.5 and XBB.1.16, a product of recombinant variants and sub-strains, has fueled a need for continued surveillance of the pandemic as they have been deemed increasingly infectious. Regardless of the severity of the variant, this has caused an increase in hospitalizations, a strain in resources, and a rise of concern for public health. In addition, there is a growing population of patients experiencing cardiovascular complications as a result of post-acute sequelae of COVID-19. This review aims to focus on what was known about SARS-CoV-2 and its past variants (Alpha, Delta, Omicron) and how the knowledge has grown today with new emerging variants, with an emphasis on cardiovascular complexities. We focus on the possible mechanisms that cause the observations of chronic cardiac conditions seen even after patients have recovered from the infection. Further understanding of these mechanisms will help to close the gap in knowledge on post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 and the differences between the effects of variants.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; acute cardiac injury; cardiovascular disease; long COVID; variants.